Large colon impaction is a common cause of colic. In many cases, a horse has been treated with routine field treatments and has returned to colic signs.
Rectal palpation reveals this classic problem, a firm hard mass palpable in the pelvic flexure of the colon, which a vet feels on the left side of the horse.
This hairpin, narrow turn is an area commonly affected and happens to be easily reachable on a rectal exam.
The problem is more commonly diagnosed in older horses and those with dental conditions that cause them grind hay improperly. We tend to see this problem more commonly in the winter during cold snaps. This is likely because horses are not drinking as much water.
In addition, horses undergoing stresses of various kinds, and those with other health problems, are more likely to develop this problem. Horses eating coarse feeds, those that are have other illnesses, those that are confined, and those that experience dehydration are also thought to more commonly acquire this problem.
Repeated incidents of this problem may indicate a colon motility disorder.
Other Diagnoses Considered
Treatments May Include
Prognosis & Relevant Factors
Prognosis is fair to good with prompt diagnosis and appropriate treatment. Some cases do not respond to even aggressive medical treatment, and require surgery.
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